Ever since Prince Harry left his senior role in the royal family, the media has focused on his continued close relationship with Queen Elizabeth — her unwavering support has been a big part of the narrative. What we might be missing in this story is that his brother, Prince William, also has a tight bond with his grandmother, and it has a unique mentorship quality we didn’t know about until now.
Battle of Brothers author Robert Lacey shares intimate details of their weekly Sunday lunches that began in 1995 when William was in a “fragile place.” At the time, the 13-year-old royal was adjusting to his new boarding school, Eton College, while also wading through the emotional waters of his parents’ split. “Concerned for her grandson’s emotional state, the Queen invited William up to join her when Eton boys went home for the weekend,” Lacey wrote in his People article. His school was “across the river from Windsor,” so this became a weekly ritual for the two generations.
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And surprisingly, this wasn’t the Queen’s idea, it was Prince Philip’s way of encouraging their relationship, especially since William was second-in-line to the throne. “When the time came for the Queen to talk business with William, Philip would quietly excuse himself because he didn’t feel that the constitutional side of the Queen’s job was something he wanted to interfere in,” Lacey said.
And with the Queen continuing to verbalize her love (in her royal way) for her grandsons, it’s clear that the brothers have very different relationships with her. She seems to have a warm, playful connection with Harry while she seems focused on guiding William toward his future as king — and her grandsons openly embrace their unique roles. Lacey also mentions that William “continues to model his leadership on the style he learned from his grandmother,” so these Sunday lunches are crucial to honoring her wishes. The royal author’s insights indicate how different the brothers are in terms of personalities, passions and their journey in life — and it looks like the Queen has nourished both relationships that honor their unique paths — and one is not better than the other.
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Before you go, click here to see the best photos of Queen Elizabeth II before she was queen.